Local Leaders Pay Tribute to Sal Pagliara, Parkland's Longest-Serving Mayor
Sal Pagliara was Parkland’s Longest-Serving Mayor.

By Bryan Boggiano

Former Mayor Sal Pagliara passed away on April 30. He was 93 years old.

He served as mayor from 1988 until 2003. During his tenure, the city’s population grew from 1,800 to 22,000 residents, according to a 2004 Sun Sentinel article.

Current commission members remember him not only for his signature cowboy hat and Western fashion style but also for his commitment to keeping the city’s charm by fighting off high-density development.

Pagliara, who moved to Parkland with his family in the 1960s, owned Pagliara Builders, Inc. and was a director at Pan American Bank.

His civic involvement was vast. He was chairman and founder of the Parkland Land Use Committee, upgraded density in Cypress Head,  and negotiated with Narco Development, the developer of Cypress Head, for the City’s acquisition of land for a city hall and two parks.

Pagliara also defended the city at the county level against increased density for Country Point and helped to form the Parks Committee, and was the charter president of the Parkland Homeowners Association and chairman of the Parkland Planning and Zoning Board.

In his remarks, Commissioner Ken Cutler remembers Pagliara as someone who promised to “represent the voice of the people and develop strong leadership” by updating city facilities, protecting Parkland’s lifestyle, maintaining low residential density, rerouting traffic, and holding developers accountable.

He also fought off the building of an airport, a jail, and a dump in The Wedge, while preserving the Ranches.

“The city owes a great deal to Sal, and his loving wife Dorothy, who gave so much and fought so hard to maintain high standards of community, a country elegance, and low-density standard for the residents,” Cutler said.

Local Leaders Pay Tribute to Sal Pagliara, Parkland's Longest-Serving Mayor

“If you’ve been to the City Hall, Parkland Library, Quigley Park, Terramar Park, the Equestrian Center, or just driven down Holmberg Road and delighted at the trees lining the roadway, those are just some of the touches and legacies of Mayor Pagliara’s hands,” added Cutler.

His legacy is evident at City Hall, which is named after him.

Vice Mayor Simeon Brier, who grew up in Parkland, remembers Pagliara as a tough, longstanding, warm, welcoming, and friendly mayor who fought passionately for Parkland and its residents.

“He certainly should be remembered and recognized for his many contributions to Parkland,” Brier said. “I can’t say enough good things about him.”

On Facebook, Mayor Rich Walker wrote that Pagliara, a key author of Parkland’s history, leaves a legacy of leadership.

“His love for civil service will always be a part of our foundation as a supportive, compassionate community,” Walker wrote.

Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook, who said he was acquainted with Pagliara, said he “always respected his energy, charisma and commitment to his community.”

County Commissioner Michael Udine, and former Parkland Mayor, remembers Pagliara as the “heartbeat of what happened” in Parkland, especially in the 1980s and 1990s.

Local Leaders Pay Tribute to Sal Pagliara, Parkland's Longest-Serving Mayor
1992 Sun Sentinel Article.

He jokingly stated that if anybody needed building plans, they could find them in Pagliara’s garage.

“He really was somebody who lived and breathed Parkland,” Udine said.

Udine also remembers several small anecdotes, such as the tire tracks on the dirt field outside the library from Pagliara’s truck. But he also relied on Pagliara’s advice when he became mayor.

 “He was somebody whose friendship I valued and who will be dearly, dearly missed by the people of Parkland and the city of Parkland,” Udine said. 

Pagliara is survived by his wife of 70 years, Dorothy, four of their five children, 14 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren, according to an obituary.

A funeral service will take place on Tuesday, May 9, from 10:00 a.m. until 11 a.m. at Mary Help of Christians. There will be a graveside service from 12:30 p.m. until 1 p.m. at the South Florida National Cemetery at 6501 State Road 7 in Lake Worth, Florida.

Instead of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.

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Author Profile

Bryan Boggiano
Bryan Boggiano
A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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